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The Beasts Among Us

family with cat and dog

Think about it: According to a credible source I'm too negligent to bother citing, 68% of Americans live with psychopaths. Surprised?

Not really, considering there's more guns in America than people. We'll also do anything for those charming psychos that share our homes, even call them our BFFs. How weird is that?

Really weird.

Especially when you consider that those psychos are our cats and dogs. Creatures who kill for a living; no remorse.

Of course at the beginning, this lasting union was probably more of a of a working compact; felines were employed as resident cave exterminators and canines were hunting partners, security guards and flea-bitten plushies. And to be fair, a lot of that never went away. But as domestication set in, let's face it, all three species mellowed.

It's not like there's anything wrong with the way that this inter-species partnership evolved. Generally speaking, all parties are quite pleased. And yet I wonder if there's more evolution to this than meets the eye? Along the journey each species became civilized. True, there are outliers among all, creatures unable to contain their blood-thirst - humans are easily the most culpable, and yet we've still managed to create lawful societies where we even pick up our psychos' poop.

(I actually think that the cow would've made an easier pet. Step one would've been to downsize them like we did to the chihuahua. Next, toilet train them and voila, you have a lovely gentle pet that doesn't even need training...I always wanted to have a pet cow, but my Mother wouldn't let).

And yet despite it all, despite it all, we chose to live with carnivores and for 20,000 years - give or take a millennia, it's worked. All three species are no longer out-and-out killing machines. Together we've managed (for the most part) to contain the beast that dwells among us; to suppress, to manage, to tame those savage urges and that's nothing less than remarkable.

What Darwin didn't mention was that evolution is more than just survival of the fittest. Ultimately it's mind over matter, the reason we don't act on our basest instincts. And that my friend is true progress, it's the only way to survive. So the next time you're ready to blow your stack, look at your pet purring or wagging his tail with contentment. Look how far those beasts have come; together we've evolved.

 

 

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